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It’s official! The National Park Service announced the designation of Buffalo National River as an International Dark Sky Park!

Cover photo by Jeff Rose on Instagram

There is officially no better place in (NW) Arkansas to gaze at the stars than America’s first national river. After a two-year effort by park staff and volunteers to lower the park’s use of artificial light at night, the Buffalo National River earned the designation from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), the recognized authority for night sky protection. The Buffalo National River is the first in Arkansas, 26th National Park Service site, and 71st in the world to receive the designation.

This news comes on the heels of a 2018 National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects Report which estimated that 1.2 million visitors spent $54.9 million in the region while visiting the river last year and a recent announcement by Gov. Asa Hutchinson that a deal had been reached to remove an industrial swine facility from the watershed of the Buffalo River.

Visitors can go celebrate all of the good news and experience the wonder of a natural night sky at the upcoming Star Party at Tyler Bend Pavillion on Saturday, June 29th from 8:30pm-10:30pm! If you can’t make the party, keep an eye on their calendar for upcoming ranger-led, campfire discussions with views of the Milky Way.

@thejeffrose on IG: Ponca, AR
@thejeffrose on IG: Buffalo River
@thejeffrose on IG: Boxley, AR